Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Maureen Dowd is an Amber Alert (JM)

Red White and Blue Tag Sale

Well nothing too offensive yet.

by Maureen Dowd

Yikes… actually this column is way better than Maureen’s usual standards since she a) is addressing a real problem and b) sticking to vague generalities. I will spare you the terribleness and just give you some of the highlights. Hopefully, she’ll be back in form soon.

When President Bush finished doing his sword dances and Arabian stallion inspections, when he finished making a speech in Abu Dhabi on the importance of freedom that fell flat, when he finished lounging in his fur-lined George of Arabia robe in the Saudi king’s tent, he came home.

Or he came to what was left of home.

Maureen, I know you have trouble distinguishing pop culture from reality, but Cloverfield was just a movie. George of Arabia? Robe?

A Washington Post cartoon by Tom Toles summed it up best: “Great to be home,” W. enthuses on Air Force One, heading toward the East Coast. “Anything interesting happen while I was gone?” Hanging on the skyline of New York is a sign reading: “U.S.A. Now a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Foreign Investors.”

Why do your job when Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles can do it for you. Actually this might be a substantial improvement: Maureen Dowd, Liveblogs the Cartoons of Tom Toles. I like it. Also… I am not sure one can “enthuse” something, but I kind of get the point.

Wherever he went, W. seemed dazzled by the can-do spirit of the J. Pierrepont Finches of the new Middle East. “It’s important for the president to hear thoughts, hopes, dreams, aspirations, concerns from folks that are out making a living,” he told Saudi entrepreneurs.

So in that pop culture grab bag of yours was the best analogy you could find here was a reference to a window washer working his way to the top “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”? I mean, “having oil money” is not exactly a Horatio Alger story.

In Dubai, he commended young Arab leaders, saying, “The entrepreneurial spirit is strong.”

In Abu Dhabi, he marveled at the royal family’s plans to build a city based entirely upon renewable energy. “Amazing, isn’t it?” W. said.

You know you’re in trouble when your Middle East oil pump is greener than you are.

You know you’re in trouble when no one edits columns for the New York Times. Somehow, Maureen’s bad writing just implied that a Middle East oil pump is greener than George W. Bush is.

So he was a supplicant in Saudi Arabia. The American economy is a supplicant, too.

Paul Krugman is no longer necessary, all economic analysis to now be done by Maureen Dowd.

As Warren Buffett has said, we are giving ourselves a party to feed our appetite for oil and imported goods and paying for it by selling off the furniture, our most precious assets.

Unless you are referring to the Warren Buffett who is a 13 year-old partially literate Estonian boy, Warren Buffett did not say that. Although I hear he is particularly fond of his Ektorp chair from Ikea.

Next to the cool, strong euro, the dollar is a comparative runt in the world’s currencies. The weak dollar lets foreigners snap up real estate in Manhattan.

This is seriously a line in an eighth grade essay. Though I guess I like the idea of giving currency personalities. I actually see the Euro as a goatee-wearing socialist with leather pants arguing with the Dollar, who happens to be a recent college graduate “backpacking” through Europe, while staying at pretty nice hotels on his parents’ dime. Also the Euro is pissed at the Dollar because the Dollar made a pass at his girlfriend, the Kroner (which is totally understandable, because the Kroner is absurdly hot). Funny, I always thought the Euro was gay… who knew. Anyway, this is the kind of speculation more appropriate to a blog and maybe slightly less so for the NYT. In fact, www.anthropomorphizedcurrency.blogspot.com.

Maybe if the president had spent the trillion he squandered on his Iraq odyssey on energy research, we might have broken the oil addiction.

Do you seriously believe that this president, had he spent a trillion dollars on energy research, would have “broken the oil addiction”? It is incredibly more likely we would have ended up with a trillion dollar report denying the existence of an oil problem and global warming. Actually, one might argue that the Iraq War was absolutely the best Bush administration end game for oil dependency. By driving oil up to a hundred dollars a barrel it’s kind of forcing our hands. This is not to say that Generic Administration X couldn’t have done good with the money, just not this one.

Now it’s a race between Iraq, stupid, or the economy, stupid, to see which one will usher out W.


The country is engaged in a fit of nativism and Lou Dobbsism, obsessing about the millions of Mexicans who might be sneaking across the border when billions in foreign money are pouring into Citigroup. You figure out what might be a bigger problem.

The national boundaries that really matter are the financial ones: Who’s going to own the American economy?

Here’s the thing, this is actually a totally interesting question. Is foreign debt a much bigger problem than illegal immigration? Absolutely. Is Maureen going to explain why? Of course not. Seriously, journalism is a major responsibility, especially with so prominent a pulpit, but she adds absolutely NOTHING new to this conversation. The article can be summed up thusly: Passing reference to the mortgage crisis and oil prices, lots of foreign investment in our debt. Bad. Love, Maureen.

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